- Great coaches are teachers first.
First and foremost, a coach is a teacher. They not only teach physical skills such as movement, coordination, and exercise protocols - they teach metacognitive skills that help their clients improve themselves on their own. Coaches work with many individuals with varying abilities and learning styles and it is necessary that they connect with and help them all through different approaches and modalities. A professional athlete might be focused on winning competitions, while an average gym member might have specific weight-loss goals; a good coach is able to help each of these individuals realize their optimal selves.
- Great coaches are good communicators.
Great coaches communicate effectively and clearly and help their athletes or students create their own path. How many movies have you seen about the overzealous parent or coach that attempts to live vicariously through their student or child? A good coach will recognize and respect the differences between him or herself and the client, as well as the differences between each client. Everyone’s journey is different. Two people might both be given the advice to consume more fat at breakfast and they might have completely unique interpretations! Good coaches communicate clearly, listen to their students’ interpretations, and then expand upon that.
- Great coaches help people find their own way based on their own values.
A great coach never pushes one of their students to do something they’re unwilling to do. A coach might practice a certain diet such as intermittent fasting (ex., I don’t eat until 2pm except for my exogenous ketones or BP coffee) but it would be incorrect to push this on a student unless they request it. Many people are not educated about nutrition and fitness, especially with how much misinformation floods the market. It is imperative that coaches work with people where they are, instead of having a rigid set of expectations for all students.
- Great Coaches see the potential in their athletes.
Each person has their own unique potential within. Coaches have seen so many different people over their years of training - they’ve seen people they expected to do amazingly well end up quitting, while others who began timidly end up achieving more than they ever thought possible. A good coach sees the potential in everyone because they recognize that we all experience similar life struggles. Everyone is struggling with some aspect of life and is working towards a better version, which requires change. That change can be difficult but a good coach will help to inspire and remind students why they wanted it in the first place.
- Great coaches get more excited about someone else than they do themselves.
Great coaches get on fire when they hear about their clients’ progress. For example, I get very excited when a member tells me they achieved a goal such as losing weight, doing a real pushup, or lifting their luggage into the overhead compartment for the first time without everyone around them trembling in fear. Hearing things like that gets me on fire. Good coaches are more excited about their students and athletes than they are about themselves. Good coaches love coaching and they love helping others achieve more than they thought possible.
- Great coaches pursue continuing education.
Every great coach must possess the knowledge to help not only themselves but others as well. However, it’s important that a coach is a Lifelong Learner rather than an authoritarian who claims to already know everything. Life and our understanding of the world is in constant flux and if you aren’t learning and growing, then you are becoming static and falling behind. The path to mastery is reached only if you accept that there will always be more learn. Every coach needs a coach.